Months of research, hard work and teamwork enter a new stage today as I deliver the final manuscript to the team at Adams Media for a new kind of app book ebook that equips developers, small businesses and brands with the business basics they need to produce and market mobile apps.
If you want to create an winning app you must have a broad base of knowledge that allows you to indentify your target audience and delight them again and again. Get ready to be an expert in applying design basics, conducting app testing, managing constant maintenance, encouraging mobile commerce, collecting payment, respecting personal privacy, leveraging to location data, respecting personal privacy, enabling app discovery, choosing mobile ad networks, harnessing social media and social networks.
It’s a mammoth task, which is why this book — a collaboration between myself and Jennifer Moranz (a top producing marketing executive with deep knowledge of the mobile app ecosystem who currently leads marketing for Crittercism) — has brought together the insights of 25+ mobile professionals, practitioners and pundits to identify market trends, best practices and key lessons learned in developing and distributing mobile apps.
Our purpose is to provide you clear direction and critical information, equipping you to profit from your app venture. Think of this Guide as a starting point to a detailed roadmap, one that will allow you to plot the transformational path your app business needs to follow to succeed in this exciting new App Economy.
Mobile App Economy is booming
Look around you and it’s clear conditions are coming together to produce a ‘perfect storm’ that will rip across the mobile app space, paving the way for mobile apps that enable everything — from games and entertainment, to education and healthcare, to retail and daily productivity — and leave an indelible mark on our daily lives.
The Geography of the App Economy, a report released in September 2012, paints a positive picture of the impact apps are having on local economies and businesses. From job creation driven by companies that must scale up to meet massive demand, to an avalanche of opportunity unleashed as enterprises contract apps to boost productivity, support marketing and improve customer service, apps are emerging the growth engine of new and vibrant economy.
Connect the dots, and the App Economy has officially arrived! Now it’s time for you to get to work and reap the profits. Whether you are an individual app developer poised to take your good idea to greater heights or a company mapping out a more comprehensive mobile engagement strategy with apps at the center, this book will provide you direction, advice and inspiration.
For this reason, the book draws extensively from the data and insights reported in Developer Economics 2012, the third in the definitive series of developer research reports/surveys from leading market analysis and strategy firm Vision Mobile and sponsored by BlueVia. This must-read series of reports, and the first to expertly map and define the new App Economy, is freely available for download (www.DeveloperEconomics.com). The report, which surveyed 1,500+ developers from across the globe, sheds light on how your peers in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and Latin America view mobile app business opportunities and obstacles.
As this manuscript is going to press we are eagerly awaiting the next in the Vision Mobile series of reports, which has surveyed double the number of developers (!), a whopping 3,400+ of your peers from across 5 continents and 95 countries. In addition to sizing up the market, rating platforms and identifying challenges, the 2013 report will also examining some of the hottest market sectors, including mobile ad networks, user analytics and cross-platform tools. (You can find a ‘sneak preview’ of the preliminary results/findings here.)
Open for everyone
I am also encouraged by a new study released by the Application Developers Alliance that declares there is “no end in sight for app market growth.” Indeed, global demand for apps continues to exceed analyst expectations with nearly half of the population in the U.S. alone having downloaded an app.
The supply side of the equation also breaks its share of records as innovations in devices (the anticipated launch of the iPad mini), platforms (the long-awaited arrival of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry 10 operating system), use cases (branded apps for marketing and retail, and life-simplifying apps for health and wellness) drive a new phase of growth and creativity.
And if you think you have to be a developer to get in on the action, think again. The app ecosystem is also quickly evolving to accommodate people who are not just programmers. The full-scale arrival of app component marketplaces, the growing availability of easy-to-use programming tools and the advance of cloud-based support and distribution are making it possible for anyone, anywhere to build an app.
One company showing the way is AppShed headquartered in Tech City in London (the Silicon Roundabout). It provides a platform that enables anyone (real people) to build their own apps that work on any smartphone. The freemium business model AppShed has embraced from the get-go means that everyone can get started making an app and only extremely successful apps end up paying a fee.
A special focus is on taking ed-tech (education technology) to a new level by enabling teachers and students (learners) to make the apps they need to master tasks and — ultimately — create and synthesize borderless knowledge. More about this disruptive model next week when I post my recent video interview with Torsten Stauch, AppShed CEO, where we deep-dive into his upcoming presentation at Forum Oxford: Mobile Apps and Technologies Conference 2012 — taking place November 23 in Oxford, U.K.
App developers are ‘biz dev’
It’s both exciting and terrifying to think about the opportunities ahead. It’s no coincidence that companies around the world are grasping the opportunity with both hands, producing an avalanche of smartphone apps and iPad apps aimed at getting their content, services and brands in the hands of customers on the move.
As I suggest in my regular column over at EContent magazine, It’s time for us all to take out and dust off Henry Chesbrough’s milestone book Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting From Technology and read it with mobile (and apps) in mind.
Chesbrough famously argued in 2003 that companies must be open to good ideas wherever they find them. To this end they should leverage the broad range of capabilities available in both their businesses and their business ecosystems. And they must “leverage multiple paths to market – even if the path to success is through another company’s business.”
I’m sure Chesbrough would agree the approach doesn’t just apply to heavy industry sectors such as automotive, pharmaceuticals and high-tech he was addressing when he wrote the book in 2003. Companies that open up their APIs and cultivate communities can likewise unleash a torrent of business innovation, enabling developers to build value-adding mobile apps.
Connect the dots, and mobile developers are more than the next innovators. They are also becoming stakeholders in an extended ecosystem where they provide the ideas (and apps) that allow media companies to extend their reach, grow their audience and master the challenges of doing business in a multi-channel, multi-device, multi-media world.
App marketing matters
But app developers also have responsibilities to their business ecosystems. In other words, it’s not just about mastering all the business and technology challenges of doing business in a multichannel, multi-device, multimedia world. App developers should also do their part (for themselves or on behalf of their clients) to drive the social media and marketing that will make sure their apps have impact.
Turning your app into a serious business (if you’re an app developer) or architecting an app to achieve sustained market presence from your product or service (if you’re a business) requires you to know your audience, understand your market and plan for success. In a way, it’s Retail 101 all over again, but there’s a catch. You have to do more than sell them; you have to convince us to insert then in our daily routines. After all, as my recent white paper shows, app downloads mean nothing if people don’t use them again and again.
With this in mind, The Everything Guide To Mobile Apps also identifies ways to extend the life of your app. Because mobile is a fiercely personal device, apps are an ideal means to reach customers every step of their daily journey to deliver value, encourage interaction, deepen engagement, boost customer loyalty and —ultimately — recruit true brand advocates and app fans. At the other end of the spectrum, apps help us get things done. They inform, entertain, communicate, advise, manage, streamline, simplify and execute.
It’s both exciting and terrifying to think about the opportunities — and this new book will help you navigate the tough terrain ahead.
A round of thanks to our amazing guest contributors (recognized app practitioners and authorities):
- Akash Sureka, Hoopz @akashsureka
- Alfred Depose, Tego Interactive @AlfredDeRose
- Andy Bovingdon, Bango @bangodotcom
- Asif Khan, the Location Based Marketing Association @AsifRKhan
- Chris Jones, CodeNgo @AppSubmissions
- Daniel Appelquist at Blue Via @BlueVia
- Derek Newell at Jiff @dereknewell
- Ed Vause, Appromoter @Appromoter
- Gary Schwartz, Impact Mobile @ImpulseEconomy
- Heini Vesander, Blaast @Blaast
- Helen Keegan, Heroes of the Mobile Fringe @technokitten
- Itay Gadot, Inneractive @Itay_Gadot
- James (Coops) Cooper, Mobyaffiliates @mobyaffiliates
- Jennifer Hiley, (formerly WeLoveMobile) @jenniferhiley
- Jez Harper, Tús Nua Designs @tusnuadesigns
- Jonathan Kohl, Kohl Concepts, Inc. @jonathan_kohl
- Joy Liuzzo, Wave Collapse @joyliuzzo
- Ken Herron, social marketer and ‘cool hunter’ @KenHerron
- Linda Daichendt, MTAM @MTAMLinda
- Lisa Ciangiulli, Optism @Optism
- Magnus Jern, Golden Gekko @MagicMagnus
- Martin Rugfelt, Expertmaker @expertmakertool
- Martin Wilson, The Mobile Web Company @mobilewebCo
- Matos Kapetenakis, VisionMobile @visionmobile
- Matt Lutz, AppClover @AppClover
- Mike Anderson, Chelsea Apps Factory @ChelseaApps
- Moshe Vaknin, YouAppi @YouAPPI
- Paolo de Santis, ChupaMobile @chupamobile
- Paul Poutanen, Mob4Hire @Mob4hire
- Phil Hendrix, immr @Phil_Hendrix
- Rimma Perelmuter, Mobile Entertainment Forum @MEF
- Rob Woodbridge, untetherTV @RobWoodbridge
- Ryan Morel, Placeplay @ryanmorel
- Sam Chan, Wireless Industry Partnership @wipjam
- Scott Townsend, Urban Airship @urbanairship
- Stu Arnott, Spark Inspires @MindingsStu
- Suzie Mitchell, boomer expert at Mitchell PR @suziemitchell
- Viki Zabala, Fiksu @Fiksu
- Yasmina Haryono, Fjord @yasmina
More excerpts, exclusive interviews and more insights from our roster of contributors here on MobileGroove and tune into my new companion series over at untetherTV in December. You can pre-order your copy of the Everything Guide To Mobile Apps on Amazon today. AND – if you want to meet up or catch up during Forum Oxford, then pls reach out to me directly (@peggyanne or firstname.lastname@example.org).